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Interview: Audrey Belle Adams of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY at Clowes Memorial Hall

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Non Eq)

Broadway Across America is coming back to life, and it's ready to hit Indy with the fun and fantastical CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. This musical brings to life the much-beloved classic children's book by Roald Dahl, also adapted for film twice. In anticipation of opening night, we were lucky enough to get to interview Audrey Belle Adams, who stars as Mrs. Gloop in the upcoming tour. Hear her reflections on what it means to be back and what makes this such a great show to launch the season.

First, we wanted to know what brought Audrey to this role. She shared that this is actually her second time touring with CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. "I was a part of the cast whenever COVID struck and Broadway shut down. I auditioned for the role back in 2019 in October, so it's now been a two year journey with this show."

Since Broadway was shut down for so long, we asked what it's been like to regroup post-COVID. Audrey said what has been the most rewarding thing is "to see how everyone has changed during this pandemic as an actor. We have discovered so much with our roles because we've had time to sit with them. You can tell on stage that these roles have kind of become us in a way. We're not scared to make the new choice." This new-found freedom means that you can expect an extra-stellar performance on opening night.

All of the preparation is not without its burdens, however. "We are tired, everybody is tired. We haven't done this in a long time." But she and other cast members have gained a sense of peace from their director who said, "Let's go gently." That gentleness has created the room they all needed to find that balance between working hard but being understanding of the fact that "we literally were all in the same boat" and "have now this shared trauma." The family dynamics within the company have been uplifting.

We asked what gives Audrey the energy to keep going and bring that intense level of enthusiasm to every performance. She said that the key ingredient is "taking care of ourselves," something she believes they all learned during their time away. "Now it's even better because we're taking care of ourselves but we're also doing this amazing show...Making sure your colleagues are there with you, it's a balance. As a cast, we found that beautifully."

We had to know how she changed up Mrs. Gloop after having so long to think about her role and how she wanted to shape it. The lockdown provided a unique breeding ground for some new ideas. "I got to spend a lot of time with my mom during the pandemic, so that was a great character study" because she wanted to really think through "what would a real mother do with her son." She came away understanding that "The Gloops, they're gullible people and excited to be there...[and] they're a lot." But she says she could still find it in herself to befriend a woman like Mrs. Gloop because "I think Mrs. Gloop has a very large heart, and she loves her kid."

For those who may doubt that a "kids' show" is right for them, Audrey has some interesting points about why adults will enjoy CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY too. "They did a great job of putting in quite hilarious adult jokes that would go right over the kids' heads...And Roald Dahl was a writer of dark comedy, so there was a lot to piggyback off of." And, of course, there's the masterful final scene that is "the epitome of how do we help raise each other up...I think it's just what we all need to see."

If you are ready to escape into the land of Wonka and his many delights, then be sure to get your tickets soon for CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY which opens on October 19th and runs through October 24th at Clowes Memorial Hall.

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